You've probably heard throughout your entire life that eating carrots is good for your eyes. However, other garden vegetables that aren't as easily associated with eye health also have proven vision benefits. Following are eight plants you can easily grown in your garden that help keep eyesight sharp and clear.
A member of the cabbage family, kale is a dark, nutrient-dense vegetable that provides many health benefits. It contains significant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which have been shown to significantly reduce chances of developing cataracts or macular degeneration. Kale can be eaten cooked or raw, and can be added to salads, soups, and stews. Uncooked baby kale can easily be substituted for lettuce in burgers and sandwiches or added to vegetable omelets.
Strawberries contain serious amounts of vitamin C, which has been found to be instrumental in promoting good eye health. Like kale, strawberries have a wide variety of culinary uses. They can be included in fruit salads, made into desserts such as pies and classic strawberry shortcake, blended into shakes and smoothies, preserved, or simply eaten plain after being picked from the garden.
Corn isn't even on the radar of most people when considering which garden vegetables are best for maintaining eye health. Like kale, corn contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both known to have significant benefits for eye health. Corn can also be enjoyed in a variety of ways, but unlike strawberries and kales, it should always be cooked before eating. You can include corn in soups, chowders, stews, and vegetable medleys, and of course, fresh corn on the cob is a seasonal treat that delights most palettes.
Bell peppers are another surprising source of eye-friendly vitamin C and contain a significant amount of vitamin A. Peppers can be used in salads, soups, on pizza, and as seasoning on meat and fish dishes. Large bell peppers can also be hollowed out and stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as tuna or chicken salad, and they can also be roasted to bring out rich depth of flavor.
Vitamin E is another vision-friendly nutrient that can be easily sourced from common garden plants. Sunflower seeds, for instance, contain large amounts of this nutrient. Sunflower seeds make excellent additions to salads and trail mix, and they are a tasty snack when eaten alone. They can be enjoyed raw straight from the shell or roasted for a more complex flavor.
Blueberries contain high amounts of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that guard against tissue damage caused by free radicals, and they've been shown to slow the development of cataracts in the elderly. Blueberries can be included in the diet by adding them to both hot and cold breakfast cereals, baking them into pies, muffins, or bread, making them into preserves, stirring them into pancake batter, spooning them over ice cream, or simply enjoying freshly picked handfuls of them.
Like other yellow vegetables, pumpkin contains substantial amounts of vitamin A, which helps protect eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Pumpkin pie is probably pumpkin's most well-known culinary use, but it can also be used to make muffins, bread, and even soup. Pumpkin needs to be cooked in some fashion, however, rather than eaten in its raw form. You can also consume a tablespoon or so of canned pureed pumpkin on a regular basis.
Lentils contain folate, which helps guard against age-related vision loss. Traditionally used in stews, lentils can also be sprinkled over salads after they are cooked, served as side dishes, or included in omelet and casserole ingredients.
For more information on protecting your eye health, make an appointment at an eye clinic like Cambridge Institute for Better Vision.Share